O'Driscoll plays down RWC 2015 swansong
December 4, 2012
Brian O'Driscoll has played down any chance of him turning out in the 2015 World Cup © Getty Images
Brian O'Driscoll has revealed that he is unlikely to be turning out for Ireland in the 2015 World Cup and was quick to single out the threat that Declan Kidney's charges will face if they progress through their pool.
Ireland will face France and Italy in their 2015 World Cup pool alongside an American and European representative. O'Driscoll has already played in four global gatherings for Ireland but concedes that the World Cup in three years time, where he will be 36 by the time it kicks off, is likely to be one too many.
"I'll be there in some capacity, but as a player I doubt that very much. It's far too far away to be contemplating playing," O'Driscoll said. "I think my World Cup ship has sailed, but I'll be there as Ireland's number one supporter."
And while Ireland will come up against teams they are familiar with in the form of France and Italy, O'Driscoll has sounded a note of caution to the side with the southern hemisphere heavy weights likely to be lying in weight in the knockout stages. "It could have been worse," O'Driscoll said. "You're never going to lick your lips at a World Cup draw because you'll always have good quality opposition.
"It's bit of a double-edged sword because when you avoid New Zealand, South Africa or Australia, inevitably when you get to the knockout stages you're likely face one of them sooner rather than later. It's an okay draw but I'd imagine France and Italy are quietly happy they've drawn us. They'll think they can beat us. It leaves it quite open because all three are capable of beating one another. It should make for interesting viewing."
Ireland have a dreadful record against France, winning just one of 13 meetings since 2003, a run that includes two defeats at the World Cup - in 2003 and 2007. It will be the pivotal match in the group and O'Driscoll admits Les Bleus have a psychological edge in the fixture.
"Early in my career we managed to get a few victories against France and then all of a sudden they became a very difficult team for us to beat," he said. "They play with a lot of confidence against us because of that record.
"When things are going well maybe they think they'll be able to see the game through and that's how things have panned out over the last while. But if we play well we can definitely beat them. You need to think you're capable of beating anyone on your day."
Ireland coach Declan Kidney insists Pool D has a familiar look to it and fears the lure of winning a World Cup on English soil will inspire France.
"We've been drawn in a group where everybody knows one another. It's going to make things really tight in 2015," he said. "We're obviously playing each other in the Six Nations three times before then. We also have a tour to the Americas in June when we'll be playing Canada twice and America once.
"And then we have World Cup history with Russia and Georgia, so there won't be too many surprises. We played France a couple of times in the World Cup and came second by a bit. They've always shown themselves to be an extremely good side who peak for that competition. I'm sure they'd like nothing better than to win the World Cup in England. We know we have a huge task ahead of us."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Following the passing of Jack Kyle, Huw Richards pays tribute to arguably the finest player Ireland has produced
"When Mike Burton was sent off I thought the world had gone crazy - just Pommy bashing, hitting anyone." Behind the Rose heads back to 1975
The time for tinkering is over - England must nail their colours to the mast in key positions, writes Phil Vickery
"New Zealand-born Joe Schmidt has forged the Irish into a street-smart, well- prepared side," John Mitchell on the Irish renaissance